In the morning, I am usually woken up by the sound of quiet knocking and an even quieter voice, calling "Elle? Elle!" It is Brynn and she is up for the day and as a result everyone else must be up for the day. Elle opens her door, they share a giggle.
They run down the hallway to my room where I am pretending to still be asleep. They poke me. I roll over to see their big eyes and fuzzy hair filled with morning sun from the windows. They scamper off to the living room. I stare at the ceiling, mentally preparing myself for the day. When you have two girls who are 3 and 4, once your feet hit floor your day moves forward and does not stop until bedtime stories are read, heads are kissed and doors are closed. I plan it out.
I lay there thinking and listening to them giggle, whine and fight until the one with the littlest belly comes in and tugs my arm for me to start breakfast. I pull on my sweatshirt and follow her, hand in hand to the kitchen. I pass books on the floor, couch cushions already becoming a castle and hazardous, wheeled toys.
I sometimes wonder how my mornings will change in 20 years, when they are both gone. I will still wake up slowly, as that is my way. I will roll over and stare at the ceiling and I will think of them. What are they up to today? How did they sleep? Are they happy? I will pull on my sweatshirt and walk down the hall. It is clean and neat, the couch is put together. There is a heavy silence that clings to all parts of the house. I will pass the kitchen reach the first bedroom, a room that was once filled with a thousand stuffed animals, a spindle bed and magical blonde baby girl, who was my first.
I will walk on to the next bedroom, the walls, maybe still painted a cool mint color are covered in photos of the past. A vintage baby doll bed sits in the corner. I will lean my head against the door and close my eyes, remembering the sounds that once lived here. The high pitched laugh of a 2 year old. The hum of the nighttime sound machine. They will never live here again. And I know each morning, my heart will break, just a little.
So for now, I will face my days with gratitude as I know time, that has become nothing more than a speeding train since I became a mother, will take us all too quickly to the days of heavy quiet.